Summary of Marine Litter: A Global Challenge (UNEP)

Marine Litter: A Global Challenge  (Apr 2009)

United Nations Environment Programme

  • Includes charts of commonly found types of ocean litter from various seas/oceans/coasts around the world and plastic bags are always in the top ten (see pages 197-198, 178, 151, 166)
  • Globally, bags responsible for 9.4% of wildlife entanglements (page 199)
  • “In Bohuslän on the west coast of Sweden, it was estimated that the costs for cleaning the beaches is at least 10 million SEK (1, 125, 000 €) in 1997. Near the city of Göteborg 11,464 plastic bags were removed manually from the coast throughout the year (Hall, 2000).” (page 32). 
  • “Noticeably, plastic bags account for most of the accumulated litter in Al Salif city on the Red Sea coast of Yemen.” Pg. 136
  • “The annual report of Naturewatch Baltic network (WWF, 1998-2005) also describes the types of litter found on the coasts and beaches of the Baltic Sea (Figure 1). Plastic bottles were the most common type of litter collected (31-43 percent). In another study of marine litter on the sea floor along European coasts (Galgani et al., 2000), plastic bottles were the most common items found (36 percent).
  • Plastic bags were registered only in some years of Naturewatch Baltic and constituted 19-27 percent of all the litter when reported. Plastic items constituted 50-63 percent of all the litter when both plastic bags and bottles were reported” (page 31)
  • The report also recommends “market-based economic instruments” and as an example, plastic bag taxes. (page 129)